I can tell you from personal experience that being bullied and harassed for not measuring up to “normal,” is a pain that aches through and through. And to experience it in the midst of “God’s people” is even more devastating. Decades of silence and the lack of compassion contributed to my exit from the church for nearly forty years. I was so conflicted as to why I had same same-sex attraction and didn’t ask for it… and what to do about it. Silence.
Out of the “Stonewall” gay bar in New York City, came a rebel yell. Not from same-sex attracted souls who wanted to draw closer to Jesus. But from people who were doing anything and everything that God would have no part in. How that can be celebrated still baffles my mind. This is where “gay rights” began. “Pride” parades erupted in streets all over the U.S. depicting unthinkable acts of sexual immorality. Still…no sign of Jesus.
People without any interest in Jesus Christ began demanding equal rights. Not for the promotion of finding a way to adapt to please Jesus, but promoting self-gratification. Do you see how for a Christian, these “rights” start to be in direct contrast to any of the teachings of Jesus? This wasn’t about valuing a person for Christ. These practices and celebrations dethroned Jesus.
Attractions (temptations) and behaviors merged in the minds of Christians. Condemnation fell harshly. Shunning and disassociation brought division. A Seventh-day Adventist friend attending La Sierra College caught my ear and planted the idea that Adventists were contributing to the forming of the gay culture by damning the sin and the sinner. There was no redemptive message of hope and salvation. No course of healing. We were hopeless. SDA Kinship formed, twisting verses and meanings to accommodate cultural Adventists who still wanted some kind of association with Christ. And that’s what it is. An organization of association, rather than Bible-based beliefs. If you could attach God in a self-constructed way, you could stay gay.
I remember attending my first Kinship meeting. After hearing the evening’s presentation, I thought; “Nothing could be further from God’s truth.” I couldn’t exchange His truth for a lie and participate in supporting an organization that doesn’t support God’s Word. But just as bad,… I fell headlong into believing in and following my “feelings” instead of God’s truth.
Gay rights began to take center stage in the news media. I hated “Pride” parades and the publicity that would draw the attention of television cameras, airing during the family dinner hour. I thought… Wow… this parade doesn’t represent me. I’m not proud of my life. I wanted help but didn’t know how to find it or know what Bible-based help would even look like.
Soon the acronym surfaced and began to grow. I think anyone in the community today has to think … “Yikes… this is beginning to look like ANYTHING goes.” L.. G… B… T… Q… I… A… next? In just thirty years, what the church and society deemed sin, would quickly be promoted as just as “normal” as the prescribed Biblical relationship of one man and one woman. Why weren’t we sticking our faces deeper in the Word to study out how we arrived at where we are?
Now if you don’t believe in God, or you’re not a Christian, none of this should matter to you at all. You’re in control of your life. But as a Christian, isn’t Christ to be in control?
The increasingly bright and demanded spotlight gave way to militant activism that would seek to take away religious freedom. Anyone who didn’t agree with behaviors that don’t agree with God’s Word would be viewed as discriminatory, and seek to legally punish people with such views. Again, no help or restoration was being offered by the church. Some, not necessarily religious, became so uncomfortable with the militant demands, that they developed therapies promising to change same-sex sexual desires and coerce and train in an effort to establish heterosexual eroticism. (Conversion and Reparative Therapy) Still leaving God out of the picture.
Historically, Christians have only been able to wrap their heads around a cure that resulted in opposite-sex attraction. Salvation by sex? I don’t think so. I certainly can’t find a direction from God to approach sexuality under this line of thinking. This seemed to fall into that long list of items a “Check-list Christian” would tick as being suited for Heaven.
The heat was on. Christians had to respond and adjust, according to the demands of the LGBT+ community or else.
Christians… the voice we desperately needed to hear from, but who was painfully silent. An increasingly louder voice of world-culture kept promoting the idea that, gay is okay. People were “Coming Out” in the masses. Still… Christians remained silent. Some, like Westboro Baptist Church, demonstrated with a “turn or burn” message. Embarrassingly Christian? Not the God I had been familiar with.
Efforts by some gays who were dissatisfied with “gay culture” began to try and find ways out. Redemptive messages seemed muddied, establishing opposite-sex attraction as the goal. God’s voice didn’t resonate with this message. And many made their way back to “gay culture” or eventually committed suicide.
More and more Christian church-attending families were losing members to the gay community who only promoted what God disfavors. Where is He? Where is His help? Where are His people?
Perhaps, not so strangely, but more in line with Bible history, believers began doing anything and everything except what He requests. They began to make God into their own image. Adaptation… rather than restoration and reconciliation.
The beaming LGBT+ spotlight was now becoming a platform for anyone with an opinion. Straight/Gay clubs and alliances started surfacing on Adventist university campuses. Demands started being made of administration. A “different gospel” that involves some in church leadership with strange claims, has gradually integrated with world-culture.
But as the saying goes, “God is not dead.” Here and there, voices of those seeking Jesus began to share their stories of victory. Men and women began to personally encounter God and seek His solutions. Meaningful voices for such a time as this.
At almost the same time, social and political pressures have backed the church into a corner. Pastors, professors, university chaplains started to break the historical deafening silence, often with displaced empathy and sympathy. Many began to sound as though they are part of the militant movement to accept that which God has warned of.
The wakening is desperately needed. Sympathy is warranted. Precious lives are at stake. A voice of hope, restoration, and redemption needs to prevail. Teaching straight out of God’s Word. Not presentations that hide Jesus and elevate distorted human knowledge or cultural shaping.
The long silence has been because we have failed as a church to share the pure gospel of Jesus. A balanced “love in truth” message. As Adventists, we have long claimed and shared the “special light” God has blessed us with. We want new believers to sign on the dotted line. Prophecy seminar after prophecy seminar. Baptism after baptism. The number of “saved souls” climbs, all while negating practical Christianity. A belief, trust, and faith in God that summons a change of heart. Sermons about our sin problems have reached nonexistence.
Historically we used to harp on the dos and don’t’s. Now we’ve gone to the other extreme proclaiming: “We’re all sinners.” A tune that numbs the senses, rather than an acute eye that proclaims God’s love for us while we were still sinners, (Romans 5:8) and a gentle plea to lay down our sin, pick up our cross and follow Jesus.
In addition, a rousing message to walk alongside each other on the journey is desperately needed. We don’t just get baptized and come up out of the water “perfect.” We need to lift one another in prayer for the healing that is promised. (James 5:16). Do we care about our standing with Christ? Have we come to love our sin so much that we can’t give it up? Do we even call it sin anymore? Do we love our brother and sister and want to help them in their struggle? Can we… will we encourage them? Or … are we going to bathe them in “whitewash” as we have with pride, gossip, gluttony, divorce, pornography, lust, adultery, etc.?
It seems there is this cesspool of sinners sitting in congregations around the world. We’ve been neutralizing the gospel. Have you been part of spreading a “different gospel” that the Bible calls no gospel at all?
“It will come about in all the land,” Declares the LORD, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. “And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'” Zechariah 13:8-9
If the test is not confirming Him and His ways, if the message you and I are listening to is different from His Word, we’re on dangerous ground.
Dear reader, I want to challenge you to trust God’s Word. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He will not leave or forsake you. And He is pleading for us to trust His ways, not our ways. Not our culture. Not the LGBT+ culture. Is your loved one seeking Jesus? Are you seeking Jesus? You can trust Him! Eliminating Him, removing Him from the conversation, will distance you from Him.
You may draw closer to your loved one, but without Jesus, two souls risk being lost, not one. I’m not talking about forcing Jesus on anyone. You can have tenderness and compassion for someone without endorsing what they have come to accept. Tell them you love them. Listen to them. Wrap your arms around them. Ask them what they would like to do. Without Jesus, we can choose to do whatever we wish. But if Jesus is who we seek, He has a plan. He calls for self-denial, surrender and a continual walk with Him.
Whoever you are listening to, … go back to God’s Word and ask yourself if it agrees with Him.
He is worth it! You are worth it! Victory has been purchased for you.
I am only safe in Jesus. My identity is in Jesus, not a “sexual orientation.” The power of choice offers me to live for Jesus and all that He represents. A pure character. Agreement with His Word and His ways. Saying “no” to the world and “yes” to His righteousness.
All things, that please Jesus are possible through Him. Philippians 4:13 This is the Creator of the world. This is the all-powerful God of miracles. Don’t underestimate or doubt Him.